Sunday, June 28, 2009


Posting this afternoon from the USO lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Nice place! I feel a little out of place without my ACUs and attention-grabbing tactical American Flag Patch, but what the heck. I got Reeses to drink a little water, which was such a big accomplishment that I don't mind being the only pregnant woman with teal shoes in the USO.

So, yesterday's flight plans didn't work out too well. Arrived at the airport at 0945, 1.5 hours before my scheduled departure. Checked in, paid my pet fees, all is good. Our airplane has not arrived. Joseph observes at about 1010 "Your plane should be getting here by now." His combat hunter is finely tuned and (surprise, surprise) correct. The plane should have arrived about 1015, but failed to do so. Not only that, but the plane failed to even depart Dallas by 1010. Instead, it chose to undergo a series of heat-related maintenance delays before finally taking off from Dallas at 1120.

The security checkpoint was opened to passengers at 1200. A very tearful me and a very frightened Reeses made it through security without trouble, me ending with considerably more fur than when I started, and she with considerably less. All is well. The flight crew of our plane had totally deplaned to use the "real" bathroom--they'd been sitting on the tarmac in Dallas for quite a time--and we waited until they returned before we boarded. We boarded. I sat in the second-to-last row, aisle seat, next to a niceish gentleman who was flying to Anchorage.

It is 93 degrees and rising outside. The temperature inside the cabin remains currently classified. We wait and wait, until finally we've been given our safety features brief and all is set to go. Then, suddenly, like in a movie, the phone bell rings for the flight attendant to pick up, about the same time a person (no kidding) starts knocking on the cabin door from the outside.

[Now, I can't tell you exactly what sort of aircraft I was flying it. It's a twin engine turboprop commuter, and the cabin door is at the rear of the plane. Therefore, me in the back rows sitting on the aisle can enjoy the fulll range of emotion going on at the door.]

The door opens. The guy from the desk (he's also the guy with the chocks and the baggage train) explains the trouble to the flight attendant. He was a nice young man with a well modulated voice. She was also nice, but neither young, nor male, nor in possession of a well-modulated voice. So I hear:

"You've got to be kidding me!!"
"Well, you go tell her, I'm not gonna tell her, it wasn't my fault!"
"I can'tspspsppppspspcauseospsppss. Okay?"

Then Modulated Voice moves away from the door, back down the steps, and Flight Attendant comes over the speaker. "Miss [Passenger]?? Please raise your hand." Now, here's where we knew something was fishy--the hand goes up immediately and the chick goes ahead to start gathering her stuff before Flight Attendant gets to her. Conversation ensues, Passenger disbarks. Passenger is heard telling Flight Attendant that she had bags checked (planeside) aboard the flight. This is bad news, because it means the engines have to be compeltely throttled back so that the ground crew can open the baggage compartment, which sits just forward of the left engine.

Sooo, 20 minutes into our stay on the tarmac (temperature still rising), Passenger and bags begin their exit. Turns out, she was flying standby and shouldn't have been approved but was anyway and no one wanted to flame their own butt for the mistake so they were flaming everyone elses'. End of story: passenger and bags exit.

Now its, what, 1240 and the temperature has to be close to 100. The cabin door is shut, and the phone bell rings a couple more times. Flight Attendant explains to Silent Flight Attendant that there's a problem with the weight/cargo ratio calculations, and the Captain didn't like the numbers and was redoing the whole equation before Captain was willing to take off. This takes another 20 minutes. 1300, and Captain says in a very professionally exhausted tone, "Sorry for the delay. We have had to make adjustments for the heat. Performance on this aircraft is no longer capable of supporting the original weight we took on board. We've elected to keep all our passengers [!] and offload a portion of the cargo. It will follow us to Dallas on the next flight."

Another 20 minutes of bumping whilst cargo is offloaded. Reeses has started to show strong signs of distress. She's panting, listless, etc. I start waving the safety briefing card at her (useless) and hoping they'll come by with some water. They, do, eventually, and I get it in and get some of the water on to her face (mostly useless). I'm now bothered by the idea of arriving in Dallas with a dead cat. What a buzz kill, right? Thankfully, about the time I'm really starting to worry, they finish their calculating and get us to the end of the runway. Huzzah! So, at 1320 (one hour in the non-ventilated plane at this point) we've progessed 500 yards.

A pause. Hearts sink. After about 2 minutes of sitting, Captain says in her tired professional tone, "We're still taking off heavy, need to lose about 150 gallons of fuel. That takes 8.2 minutes and then we're outta here." She is right-- 8.2 minutes later we head down the runway. Unfortunately, 8.9 minutes from the original announcement, we stop heading anywhere in particular and instead get to feel what an aborted takeoff feels like.

Engine #2 overheated on throttle up, it appeared, and so Captain took us all back to the terminal and told us to get off. "This is just silly," she was thinking. She'd already done this once today. So, we all get off and relive multiple times the feeling of suddenly getting to the point where, normally, the plane would have lifted from the ground, but instead the counter-forward-motion measures had been quickly applied and we did a number of things other than lift. The first, of course, was a slowing down. The second was a rapid series of side-to-side motions which gave fright to myself, Critter, and Reeses a lot more than the unbelieveable noise that the brakes on a twin-engine turboprop commuter makes.

End of story? Joseph came back to get us, we went home, enjoyed a bonus 18 hours together, and woke up this morning to light rain and a blissful 79 degrees. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

World's Most Expensive Stroller

"The most expensive baby stroller in the world is the Dreamer Design Axiom. Available in blue or red, this is a sturdy (200 lbs.) and versatile stroller. Sporting the usual options – washable fabric, reclining seat, and storage basket, it also comes with a 20-year-warranty. It has an on-board hand and foot brake, adjustable handle, various lanyards and harnesses, and even a water bottle holder. The most expensive single baby stroller in the world for just $1,219."
The article is slightly off base, in that strollers for triplets (and higher multiples) can run into the three and four thousands pretty quick, but for a "put your One Kid in it" stroller, this was the winner. Sick, eh? Also, who on earth would want a 200lb. stroller?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday things

Well, been married a year come yesterday. That's a pretty interesting achievement, in today's world anyhow. It seems like a very long time. Like Joe said today at lunch, we've moved three times since that wedding, with a fourth time coming before Christmas. We've traveled from Philadelphia to Florida on I-95 (not missing any pieces in between!), and from the Atlantic Ocean to Oklahoma City on I-40. It's been a busy, ground-covering year. Wow.

To celebrate the day, we decided to do as little as possible. This consisted of an extreme "relaxation" afternoon at a friend's house, enjoying french toast for lunch and watching half of the first season of "Arrested Development." (Will blog about the show some other time.) Perhaps not the most edifying way to spend an anniversatry, but it did the trick as far as chilling out went. Besides, we've been celebrating the big event for a least a month, off and on, especially a couple weeks ago when we thought that we wouldn't be together for "thuh day" itself. I think it'll do.

I get to fly back East with a cat on Saturday. The drama is worth sparing, but Reese and I will travel with many prayers and milagros about our persons, in hopes that no snitty passengers notice my dander-bearing companion and raise a stink. The Airline is on my side, but that isn't saying a whole heap of a lot. We arrive in EDT land at 9pm on Saturday, and have to hop in the car Sunday morning to return home. In the meantime, my Mr. Kitty will have been retrieved. If they don't each know what the other smells like by the beginning of the trip, they will by the end. Thank goodness poor Elizabeth will be along for the ride, for referee purposes if nothing else.

Speaking of minor land wars, another member of the Class of '08 has fallen into the military pit. Dave heads out to Navy something (OCS? Boot?) on Sunday, oily oily in the morning. This makes 5 grads out of 97, so just over 5% so far...we're also working on a couple more prospects who don't [yet] want to give up a steady diet and air conditioning in order to serve their country. Disappointingly, two non-cool (just kidding) classmates were unable to muster what it took to survive the Corps' OCS last summer/fall, or we would have been well on our way to 10% by now. Still, we're pretty sure that 5% is a fairly high number, judging from school history. Even more impressive is the whopping 2% of the class that has committed itself just to foreign languague studies with the US Navy. Now, if we can just get some more of those bums working in bars around DC to pack up their butts and get a real life...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too funny

In light of my last post, I suppose, all the google ads on my publish page were for ethernet cable, patch cords, and flea medicine.

Chicken Fried Cat

So, Reeses the cat (that's her, lounging upon my increasingly cushy stomach) is reaching new heights in her quest to die young. Power cables are now the foe--chewing through them is her game.

Fortunately, the only ones she's had a go at have either been (a) unplugged or (b) ethernet cables and therefore not carrying any voltage. She severed her second ethernet cord in a week this morning. Of course, you know, this means war.

Unlike the "real" power cords, which are in plain sight (and now unplugged for cat's safety), the internet port is way up underneath the bed, so the edible ends are out of my usual reach. This means that little Reeses can dedicate the necessary hours to chewing her way through the cable before I catch her. That is, before the internet goes off for no apparent reason. Thus I shopped today for the hottest pepper I could find. Thanks be to diversity, the Commissary was carrying habenero peppers today (at a whopping $10.00 a pound!!!). I got two of the little suckers, anda hazmat suit for Joe. He gets to cut one up and rub it on the ethernet cable when he gets home. I shall spend no more moneys on cat snacks in the form of computer cables.

Next step is to do all the regular power cords, too, but for now they just get put away whenever I'm not watching over them. Stupid cat.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I, Pharisee

There really ought to be a way to proofread one's posts. On paper, or something...I never see the boo-boos until they've been published a week or longer. At that point, I feel like anyone who's got good sense has already seen the boo-boos and written me off for the write-off that I am. Part of my problem, though, is a simple physical inability to press the proper key. My IQ (as mentioned before?) has been hijacked by some small being inside me. I'm getting dumber by the week.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Terminator: Slavation

I spelled it that way on purpose. Since the first time I saw a commercial or walked by a poster, I've only been able to read the word that way. Sorry.

Still, there's a vague kind of irony in calling it "Slavation" if you spend time around people who are, indeed, slaves to the culture of going to see movies. Good movies, bad movies, fair-to-middlin' movies all get their share of eyeball time from a certain group of people, simply because they want to see it. Maybe because they've "always" gone to see movies on opening night, and they feel honor bound to continue the tradition. Maybe because "everyone else" is going. Maybe not.

How come this thing happen? How come? Why don't they only go to see movies that are good, that they've checked into beforehand, that they really feel will add something to life? I mean, I've seen my share of lemons in the last 20 years, but they've been rented or borrowed or otherwise cheaply obtained--I don't pay $20 to take myself on a date ($40 if we eat something) in order to walk out two hours later and so, "Well, that was a waste of time."

How come this happen?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another Midnight Episode

Closer to the real thing, too. I'm really not sure what is bringing this coughing on. I know that I've got rattly stuff in my throat, but what makes some nights like this and others not is a mystery. The stupid medicine is not a delineating factor.

This time, I seem to have perfected a half-asleep mode that allows me to not realize I've been laying there coughing for two hours. Usually, I get up long before then and try and find some remedy, inadequate though it might be. Now, my throat is so irritated, I don't know that anything I've got on hand is going to help. Don't have any lozenges, no Robitussin, and can't make tea without any, well, tea. Not that any of this isn't my own darn fault, but there it is. Like I said, it isn't that this occurs every night.

Sigh. I thought I was done with this. Dealt with it for almost two straight months, kicked the thing, then came back out here to Oklahoma and it starts almost all over again. The disease is missing this time, though, rather curiously--no sinus problems. Did I never really get over the cough at all? What is wrong with me? Did my doctor leave me with a bigger problem a month ago and not realize it? Will this be the story for the rest of my life?


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

This article appeared in the The Daily News today, in Philadelphia. It's more or less benign, I suppose, unless you're bothered by reading in a liberal tabloid about the demise of a conservative broadsheet.

However, the "staffers who gathered" are friends of mine, personal friends, and it's creepy to know the story behind what hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians will read today and simply dismiss. How many stories escape my notice every single day, yet spell disaster and harship for some other person and their family?